Alilem: a new and developing tourist haven

ALILEM, ILOCOS SUR – The town of Alilem is becoming a tourist drawer and adds to many reasons why people must visit Ilocos Sur province.
Alilem, a fourth-class municipality with a population of seven thousand people speaking the Iloco language and Kankanaey dialects, is now pushing for travel and tourism development to bring in various economic activities in the town.
It is mainly an agricultural community inundated by the Amburayan River which can be reached from municipality of Sudipen by an exhilarating jeepney or single motorbike ride in 30 minutes.
Vast rice fields greet visitors in this simple but beautiful serene town and the mountains are picturesque of rice terraces with breath-taking road view that is literally snaking up to the top.
“We are a backpacker-travel-lover destination, we have an affordable inn with a money transfer service and within the neighborhood, we maintain several small variety stores, enough to serve the targeted market,” said Mayor Mar Ruel Sumabat, promoting the town’s potential.
“Trekkers and hikers can explore the town’s vast forest including its waterfalls, but the most popular is called Baey Anito/ Balay Anito falls,” he added.
Eateries can also be found around town and are open till 7p.m. on ordinary days and may extend during fiestas and nights when there are events.
Alilem is also abundant with local products such as vinegar made from quail eggs, sugarcane, red rice, ginger, and dragon fruits which are offered to tourists to bring home.
This conservative town is also the home to the Bakun AC hydroelectric power plant which has been producing 70 milliwatts of clean and renewable energy for Northern Luzon since 2001. It taps the power of the Bakun River through its force, the point where part of the river water is diverted in Bakun, Benguet.
Just recently, the Department of Tourism (DOT) in Ilocos conducted a Tourism Awareness and Effective Customer Service Seminar to about 67 barangay officials and local government unit (LGU) employees which aimed to advocate to the residents the cost and benefits of tourism.
During the training, DOT Regional Director Martin Valera said that, “As mandated, we want the locals to be equipped with knowledge and enhance their skills on tourism planning, marketing and promotions and customer service to fully implement the tourism programs here in the area.”
“The security and safety and festival planning and handling training will be applied by the trainees to protect and create a memorable experience not just for the visitors but the residents as well,” he added.
At present, to ensure a broad approach in the idea of its improvement, an existing highway that leads to the mountains will be included in the DOT’s Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP) criteria, a convergence project for enhancing tourism access with Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The local officials and residents are looking forward to the progress of their natural wonders into tourist destinations very soon, too further boost their economy. Anne Hazel Fajardo-Flores, PIA-1 / ABN

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